A Washington, D.C., appeals court is currently reviewing arguments regarding the lifting of a gag order imposed on former President Donald Trump by Judge Tanya Chutkan in the federal election interference case. The court also hinted that it may reduce the scope of the order. At the same time, in New York, Judge Arthur Engoron denied a motion for a mistrial made by Trump’s lawyers, claiming bias on the part of Engoron and his law clerk, Allison Greenfield. Here are the latest updates on the legal cases involving the former president, who is aiming to return to the White House in 2024.
In the case of election interference on January 6, the appeals court listened to arguments regarding the gag order on Trump. Key players in this case include Judge Tanya Chutkan, special counsel Jack Smith, Trump’s lawyer D. John Sauer, DOJ lawyer Cecil VanDevender, and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Millett. Sauer argued that the gag order restrained Trump’s freedom of speech during his re-election campaign, while Chutkan’s order allowed Trump to criticize the Biden administration and the Justice Department but not prosecutors, court staff, or potential witnesses. The appeals court temporarily suspended the gag order earlier this month. VanDevender argued that Smith’s office had been subjected to threats due to inflammatory remarks made by Trump, and therefore, the gag order should remain in place. However, the appeals court judges questioned Sauer’s claim that Trump should have “absolute freedom” to say anything about the case, considering the potential threats made by his supporters. Politico reported that the judges suggested they may revise the gag order to allow Trump more flexibility in responding to his critics. The appeals court did not issue a final ruling on Monday.
The lifting of the gag order is significant because Trump has been trying to shape public opinion regarding the charges against him, connecting them to an alleged effort to prevent him from being president again. If the gag order is lifted, Trump will be free to continue his strong criticism of Smith’s team and potential witnesses.
In the New York financial fraud case, Judge Arthur Engoron rejected Trump’s motion for a mistrial. The motion was based on the claim that Engoron and his law clerk, Allison Greenfield, were biased against Trump. Engoron dismissed this argument, stating that his rulings were independent and that there was no “co-judging” taking place. He described the arguments made by Trump’s lawyer, Christopher Kise, as “nonsensical” and clarified that he, not Greenfield, made the rulings in the case. Engoron also noted that the allegation against Greenfield, regarding exceeding the annual limit for political donations, was false and based on misleading information from a pro-Trump editorial.
The outcome of the mistrial motion is crucial as Trump has consistently portrayed Engoron and Greenfield as biased against him throughout the $250 million fraud trial brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Engoron has already determined that the defendants are liable for inflating their business assets, and the trial will determine the penalties Trump, his adult sons, and their family business must pay to the state.
Overall, these legal cases have significant implications for Trump’s political future as he seeks to return to the White House in 2024. The outcome of the appeals court’s decision on the gag order and Engoron’s handling of the mistrial motion will shape the narrative surrounding Trump’s legal battles.